Rated: R For nudity, language and adult sexual content. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: July 30, 1993 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
This summer will be remembered by movie goers for several best selling books being made into motion pictures. The Firm and Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park are two of the more successful ones. Unfortunately, Crichton's Rising Sun doesn't fare as well.
The plot revolves around the murder of a call girl during kinky sex. She's killed in the boardroom of a Los Angeles office building owned by a large Japanese corporation. To complicate things, American politicians and Japanese dignitaries are attending a cocktail party a couple of floors below.
The Japanese want the police to quickly close the case, without stirring up messy publicity which would adversely affect a big deal they're working on.
Police Lt. Web Smith (Wesley Snipes) is on the case along with John Connor (Sean Connery), who because of his familiarity with Japanese customs, is asked to help out with the investigation.
AmericanJapanese differences are contrasted by the brashness of the American police, especially by Harvey Keitel, who plays a mouth racist detective and the more laid back, very secretive Japanese.
A lot of controversy as surrounded first, the book and now the movie for its supposed Japan-bashing. I didn't read the book, but if the film is true to it, then Crichton was pretty evenhanded with each of his character's flaws. Both Americans and Japanese are portrayed as disgraced, corrupt, or just plain sleazy.
Also, Rising Sun contributes to a growing number of films in which women are on the receiving end of violent sex. I find it very disturbing and hope that Hollywood will soon clean up its act.
The best thing about the film is Connery. He's cool, calm and underplays his role as fatherly tutor to the rough-edged, streetwise Snipes. But, the script has too may confusing sub-lots which detract from the main story-line. There's the murder, a video disc of the crime, an altered disc and several suspects. That adds up to an unsatisfying mystery.